NewsInspiring South Florida


Palm Beach Gardens woman raises thousands of dollars for young cancer patients

Campaign raises $9,000 in 2 weeks
Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 18:21:11-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach Gardens woman is jumping into the holiday spirit.

Lilia Drew is raising thousands of dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, taking a page out of Santa's book this Christmas and giving cheer while giving back.

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Six years ago, the son of Drew's best friend, Beckett Papa, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 9-years-old.

"It doesn't just affect the patient, it affects the whole family," Drew said.

Beckett and his family fought back, and he's been cancer-free for three years. It inspired Drew and the Papa family to run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon last year.

Beckett Papa
Beckett Papa was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of nine but has been cancer-free for three years.

"You can have so much anger at something like cancer, and you have to take it into something so positive," Drew said.

This year with no in-person marathon and seeing the hardships caused by COVID-19, Drew came up with a different way to raise money for St. Jude’s hospital.

"I never thought I would A: jump so much. B: raise so much money, and honestly have so much fun with it," Drew said.

For every dollar donated, she’s suiting up like Santa and doing jump squats.

Lilia Drew
Lilia Drew's "Santa Squats" campaign raised a little over $9,000 in two weeks.

"In two weeks, I've raised a little over $9,000," Drew said.

"It's awesome to see what she's doing," said family friend Bianca Papa.

The Papa family couldn't be prouder of their friend.

"Despite what everybody is going through with COVID and their own personal challenges, when you look at the bigger picture there’s always others suffering greater challenges, and it’s nice to embrace that, give back and be a part of their healing," said family friend Adrienne Papa.

Click here if you would like to donate to Drew's campaign.